Poll: Majorities oppose Trump's wall funding demand, call for compromise

Most voters oppose President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump claims media 'smeared' students involved in encounter with Native American man Al Sharpton criticizes Trump’s ‘secret’ visit to MLK monument Gillibrand cites spirituality in 2020 fight against Trump’s ‘dark’ values MORE’s demand for border wall funding, but think that the White House and congressional Democrats should compromise on funding for the president’s long-promised project, according to a new Harvard CAPS/Harris poll released exclusively to The Hill.

The survey found that 56 percent of respondents do not support the president’s proposal to construct a wall along the southern border, compared to 44 percent who do.

Erecting a broad security barrier along the border is only slightly more popular, according to the poll. Only 46 percent of respondents support that proposal, while 54 percent oppose it.

A majority of U.S. voters surveyed, 58 percent, said Trump should withdraw his demand for the border funding, while 42 percent said the president “should not give in."

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Whether Congress should allocate Trump’s demanded $5 billion for the southern border wall is at the center of a bitter funding dispute that has left part of the federal government shuttered for nearly a week.

Trump has said that he will not sign a government funding measure unless lawmakers meet his demand for the border wall spending.

House Republicans passed a funding measure last week that included $5.7 billion for the wall, but the bill appears incapable of clearing a key 60-vote hurdle in the Senate.

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey found, however, that a slight majority of U.S. voters polled, 51 percent, believe that Democratic lawmakers and the president should compromise and agree on a $2.5 billion funding package for border security. Forty-nine percent said that they should not compromise.

“While a plurality want President Trump to relent in terms of the shutdown, a majority want to see the Democrats and Republicans enter into a compromise with $2.5 billion in barrier funding,” said Mark Penn, the co-director of the Harvard CAPS/Harris poll.

“This suggests that Trump has room right now to wait out the shutdown as numbers are remaining stable even though most want him to cave and end it.”

What’s more, nearly two-thirds of respondents, 64 percent, see the current shutdown as a largely symbolic one. By comparison, 36 percent said they see it as a “real shutdown” that impacts their lives.

“Sixty-four percent said this is just a symbolic shutdown, and that means people see this more as political squabbling rather than something affecting their lives — at least at this point during the holidays,” Penn said.

“In the 1995 shutdown, the Republicans immediately lost support,” he added. “We are not seeing a similar pattern yet, but it’s early.”

Trump faces even longer odds of securing wall funding next week, when a new Democratic majority takes power in the House.

There appears to be little public support for a government shutdown over border security funding. The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey found that roughly 40 percent of U.S. voters back the current funding standoff, while 61 percent oppose the notion of using a shutdown to secure money for border security.

An overwhelming majority of U.S. voters believe that security along the southern border is a problem, with 48 percent saying that it’s a “serious problem” and 38 percent saying it’s a “minor problem.” Only 14 percent said that border security is “not even a small priority,” the Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey found.

The Harvard CAPS/Harris online poll surveyed a total of 1,407 registered voters. Of that total, 731 were asked whether they support building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, and 742 were asked if they support constructing a security barrier.

The survey was conducted from Dec. 24-26, days after the partial government shutdown took effect.

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll is a collaboration of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University and The Harris Poll. The Hill will be working with Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll throughout 2018.

Full poll results will be posted online later this week. The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey is an online sample drawn from the Harris Panel and weighted to reflect known demographics. As a representative online sample, it does not report a probability confidence interval.